Bill To Ensure Religious Freedom, Protections For Tennessee Clergy Has Another Chance For Passage This Session (Update 2.2.24)

***Update 2.2.24 – SB0598 has been placed on Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for 2/6/2024. To voice your support or opposition to SB0596, find the committee members contact info HERE and contact them prior to their meeting. ***

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Rebecca Scott] –

A bill introduced in the Tennessee Senate in 2023 and deferred to 2024 has been deferred once again.

Senate Bill 0596 (SB0596) is sponsored by Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon-District 17). In summary, the bill regarding marriage states, “a person is not required to solemnize a marriage if the person has an objection to solemnizing the marriage based on the person’s conscience or religious beliefs. – Amends TCA Title 4; Title 29 and Title 36.”


As reported in 2023 by The Tennessee Conservative, “The legislation would provide protection for all individuals within the state from being made to perform wedding ceremonies if they were not in agreement with the circumstances of the marriage due to a conflict of beliefs.”


No official reason was given as to why the bill was originally deferred in 2023. However, amidst gun control protests at the capitol toward the end of the last session and legislator’s rush to shut down the session, several pieces of legislation were deferred to 2024.

The House version of the bill (HB0878), sponsored by Representative Monty Fritts (R-Kingston-District 32) already passed that chamber during the 2023 session in March.


On Tuesday, January 9, 2024 the Senate bill was deferred to February 6, 2024 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga-District 10), chairman of the committee, stated that they are going to try to group bills by issue for consideration so that if there are people who want to speak on a particular topic, everyone knows when to be present in the chamber.

If the bill eventually passes in the senate, it will then be sent to the governor’s desk for his approval.

Rebecca Scott is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. 

You can reach Rebecca at

5 thoughts on “Bill To Ensure Religious Freedom, Protections For Tennessee Clergy Has Another Chance For Passage This Session (Update 2.2.24)

  • January 10, 2024 at 5:40 pm

    Under what “AUTHORITY” would a person be prosecuted for refusing to marry “Anyone”???

    Hasn’t anyone read the Constitution,

    neither State or Federal government were “ENUMERATED POWERS” to “Legislate anything” concerning the “BILL OF RIGHTS”.

    The very “Existence” of such a law is a “Violation” of the Constitution and numerous “Supreme Court decisions”.

    Tenth Amendment

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    “The Powers delegated by this Constitution are appropriated to the department to which they are respectively distributed.
    So that
    the legislative department shall never exercise the powers vested in the executive or Judicial,
    nor the executive department shall never exercise the powers vested in the legislative or Judicial,
    nor the Judicial department shall never exercise the powers vested in the legislative or executive,

    Federalist Paper 84, Hamilton:
    “Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain every thing, they have no need of particular reservations. “WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America”.

    “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed”?

    “It has been said, that in the Federal Government they (Bill of Rights) are unnecessary, because the powers are enumerated and it follows that all that are not granted by the Constitution are retained, that the Constitution is a bill of powers, the great residuum being the rights of the people”.

    Madison had written to Jefferson:
    “My own opinion has always been in favor of a bill of rights; provided it be so framed as not to imply powers not meant to be included in the enumeration.

    “If they are incorporated into the Constitution, independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of those rights; they will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive; they will be naturally led to resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the Constitution by the declaration of rights”.

    West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette, 319 US 624, 638; 63 S Ct 1178; 87 L Ed 1628 (1943)

    “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no election.”

    Miranda v Arizona, 384 US 436, 475 (1966)
    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.

    Miller v US, 230 Fed 486,489; “The claim and exercise of a Constitutional (guaranteed) right cannot be converted into a crime”.

    Today Governments refuses to enforce the “Supreme Law of the Land”, each state enforces it’s own version of Rights/Freedoms, most which violate the Supreme law of the land.

    In legislation and Court Decisions where government has not been enumerated power, legislators/Judges are ignoring and destroying the foundation of the “Federalist System” in crossing the lines that separate their enumerated powers, and completely ignoring the restrictions of the Federalist system and the Laws which govern it.

    An act that eliminate “Justice” from the system and can only be described as “TYRANNY”.

    • January 10, 2024 at 7:42 pm

      I can’t add to that or say it more clearly. Thanks for the reasoned post.

  • January 11, 2024 at 1:21 pm

    This is unnecessary posturing by that ever-prancing Pody and his dancing partners. Ministers already have the right to refuse to marry anyone whose potential marriage violates their conscience and/or religious beliefs/dogma. Best example: those who violated the sanctity of their marriage by having affairs, abusing a spouse, abusing their children or divorcing.

    • February 3, 2024 at 1:47 am

      I must respectfully disagree with your stance. Pastors, bakers, wedding planners and anyone else the elites deem unworthy are being sued every day for refusing to serve LGBT people who, apparently, think it is their right to step on someone else’s. You can refuse service to anyone for any reason unless that someone has the “uppity belief their S..t don’t stink wants to use the courts to enforce their will on anyone that disagrees with them or stands on personal beliefs. If you pull gender pronouns on me, I walk away. You have the right to call yourself whatever you want. I have the right to disassociate myself from you.

      • February 5, 2024 at 10:59 pm

        Well said Ralph, Thank you!


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